Dwyane 'Pearl' Washington, Syracuse basketball legend, dies at 52


Dwyane 'Pearl' Washington, Syracuse basketball legend, dies at 52

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- Dwayne "Pearl" Washington, who went from New York City playground wonder to Big East star for Jim Boeheim at Syracuse, has died. He was 52.

Washington died Wednesday of cancer, the university said. He had been coping with medical problems since a brain tumor was first diagnosed in 1995 and recently required around-the-clock medical coverage and a wheelchair to move around.

Washington had surgery last August to address the recurrence of a brain tumor. The first tumor, 21 years ago, was benign.

Current and former players, as well as others associated with the program, rallied in support of Washington during his illness. A GoFundMe page was set up, (hash)PrayersforPearl became the slogan for Syracuse basketball, and ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas gave the movement some national exposure. During a broadcast, Bilas wore the all-orange "Pearl" warm-up shirt that Syracuse players wore on the bench in games starting in late January to pay tribute to Washington.

Dwayne Alonzo Washington was born in Jan. 24, 1964, and grew up in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, acquiring his nickname as an 8-year-old when he was compared to former NBA star Earl "the Pearl" Monroe.

A New York City playground legend who starred at Boys and Girls High School, Washington was the most highly recruited basketball player in the country after averaging 35 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists as a senior. He committed to Syracuse in 1983, left an indelible mark on Orange basketball, and ranks as one of Boeheim's most important recruits.

"There was no better guy and there's nobody who has meant more to our basketball program than Dwayne Washington," Boeheim said last fall.

Washington averaged 15.6 points, 6.7 assists and 2.7 rebounds for the Orange and helped create the aura of greatness the Big East Conference had during its heyday in the 1980s and 1990s.

The Pearl was not particularly fast, nor could he jump particularly high. Neither mattered -- he simply excited fans with his amazing ball-handling skills, an uncanny court sense, elusiveness and the ability to pull off unbelievable plays at the right time.

Teams could not press Syracuse full court because Pearl could simply dribble through it. Even Georgetown's vaunted press under John Thompson II posed few problems.

His signature move was the crossover dribble -- the "shake-and-bake" -- that froze defenders, then a drive to the hoop for an easy layup past the defense's big men.

Washington made his mark in a nationally televised game on Jan. 24, 1984, against Boston College. The Eagles tied the game with a free throw with only a few seconds left on the clock, but when Martin Clark missed his second free throw, Washington raced down court and swished the winning shot from beyond half court as time expired.

Exhibiting his flair for the dramatic, the 6-foot-2 Washington never stopped running after he took the shot until he made it to the locker room. Later that winter, he set a Syracuse record with 18 assists against Connecticut.

As a freshman, Washington led the Orange to the conference tournament finals against nemesis Georgetown, but a controversial call late in the title game allowed the Hoyas to tie the game in regulation and they won in overtime.

Washington had some of his best moments in an arena he cherished -- Madison Square Garden. As a junior, he had a pair of 35-point games against St. John's and again led the Orange to the Big East finals in 1986 in a dramatic 75-73 overtime win over Georgetown in the semifinals. In the championship game against St. John's, Washington had 20 points and 14 assists but was denied a game-winner when Walter Berry blocked his layup after a court-long dash.

After losing 97-85 to Navy and David Robinson in the second round of the 1986 NCAA Tournament, Washington announced he would forgo his senior year and enter the NBA draft, the first player under Boeheim to leave school early.

Washington left an impressive trail: Big East rookie of the year, first-team Big East all three years of college, and first team All-American his junior year.

Washington was the 13th pick in the first round of the NBA draft and went to the New Jersey Nets. His style, size, and lack of speed were not well-suited to the NBA's fast-paced game, and he played only three seasons with the Nets before retiring.

March Madness 2018: Sweet 16 TV Schedule, Tip times, announcers, how to watch, live stream

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March Madness 2018: Sweet 16 TV Schedule, Tip times, announcers, how to watch, live stream

The first and second rounds of the 2018 NCAA Tournament are in  the books.

We witnessed history, with UMBC becoming the first No. 16 seed in men's tournament history to defeat a No. 1 seed, beating Virginia 74-54.

We saw the Ramblers of Loyola Chicago make a Cinderella run, beating Miami and Tennessee on the final possession.

We saw No. 7 Nevada rally from 22 points down to stun No. 2 Cincinnati.

We saw great games, great finishes and great moments.

But now it's time for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight.

The madness begins again on March 22, with the Sweet 16 taking place Thursday and Friday, with the Elite Eight taking place on Saturday and Sunday.

Here is a complete listing of TV channels, tip times and game locations.




Thursday, March 22

7:07 pm — No. 7 Nevada vs. No. 11 Loyola-Chicago (South/Atlanta, GA), CBS. Announcers: Brian Anderson, Chris Webber, Lisa Byington
7:37 pm — No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 7 Texas A&M (West/Los Angeles, Calif), TBS. Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Dana Jacobson
9:37 pm — No. 5 Kentucky vs. No. 9 Kansas State (South/Atlanta, GA), CBS. Announcers: Brian Anderson, Chris Webber, Lisa Byington
10:07 pm — No. 4 Gonzaga vs. No. 9 Florida State (West/Los Angeles, Calif), TBS. Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Dana Jacobson

Friday, March 23

7:07 pm — No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 5 Clemson (Midwest/Omaha, NE), TBS. Announcers: Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson
7:37 pm — No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 5 West Virginia (East/Boston, Mass.), CBS. Announcers: Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce
9:37 pm — No. 2 Duke vs. No. 11 Syracuse (Midwest/Omaha, NE), TBS. Announcers: Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson
10:07 pm — No. 2 Purdue vs. No. 3 Texas Tech (East/Boston, Mass.), CBS. Announcers: Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce



Saturday, March 24

Time TBD — Nevada/Loyola-Chicago winner vs. Kentucky/Kansas State winner (South Regional Final/Atlanta, GA), CBS. Announcers: Brian Anderson, Chris Webber, Lisa Byington
Time TBD — Michigan/Texas A&M winner vs. Gonzaga vs. Florida State winner (West Regional Final/Los Angeles, Calif.), CBS. Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Dana Jacobson

Sunday, March 25

Time TBD — Kansas/Clemson winner vs. Duke/Syracuse winner  (Midwest Regional Final/Omaha, NE), CBS. Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson
​Time TBD —  Villanova/West Virginia winner vs. Purdue/Texas Tech winner (East Regional Final/Boston, Mass.), CBS. Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce

 WANT MORE COLLEGE HOOPS? Troy Machir is spending all March chatting with some of the biggest names in college basketball. Listen to the March Only Podcast below and be sure to like, rate, share and subscribe on iTunes.

Not only did UMBC own Virginia on the court, they owned the Twitter world

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Not only did UMBC own Virginia on the court, they owned the Twitter world

They said it could not be done, no No. 16 seed would ever beat a No. 1 seed. The odds would be too great and the obstacle too steep.

As we all know, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), just proved that all wrong.


All season the top-ranked Virginia Cavaliers dominated their opponents. They dictated pace, held opponents to less than 55 points, and smothered teams by forcing turnovers.

The roles filled on Friday evening and with an up-tempo 74-54 victory, UMBC proved the impossible.

The hardwood is not the only place that UMBC owned last night, they grabbed headlines, attention, and thousands of fans (literally) on Twitter.

Someone grabbed a hold of the UMBC Athletics Twitter account and took the upset by storm.

It all started when Seth Davis poked the bear:

and they were relentless.

Oh yeah, I forgot Seth Davis:

Then they started get snarky and owning everyone:

As someone who graduated from a commuter school, I can relate:

More Seth Davis:

Back to Twitter:

I guess that application wave actually was a thing or people wanted to know what ‘UMBC’ stood for:

Game. Set. History.

Now here come the shots against other schools:

Yeah, don’t jump on this bandwagon Terps fans. Stay in College Park:

I did not take long for other social media icons to start reaching out:

Oh and Seth Davis eventually did apologize:

Started the night at 5,588 and jumped up to 51.7 K. No one cares what you think Steven:

If you liked what you saw thank Zach Seidel, not an intern, not a student athlete who provided those tweets last night.

Zach, you just earned yourself a raise and we’ll see you in the Second Round.